When trying to get media coverage, companies generally focus on creating a compelling pitch to send media outlets and get the information out there. However, how marketing teams approach media outlets and get the desired media coverage depends on their tactic. If they were to hound or send awkward email follow-ups continuously, they would most likely get ignored. But, if they were to have a compelling pitch and understand the dos and don’ts of media engagement, they will likely get the media coverage they desire.
What not to do to get media coverage
When it comes to approaching media outlets, there are some things that companies need to keep in mind if they want to get their desired media coverage.
Meeting media outlets online or at conferences are a great way to start developing relationships. It is a way to connect through social media channels, and if media outlets were to add companies back, that is an excellent start.
However, if companies were to jump right into pitching their company without proper introductions or a relatively developed relationship, they would most likely not get the media coverage they want. Sending media information through private social media chat and “cold” phone calling out of the blue are also tactics that will not get companies desired media coverage because they are not acknowledging media outlets’ rights to privacy.
Regardless of the person, no one wants to feel used. If companies were to bombard media outlets with information about their business without even trying to introduce themselves and getting to know the media outlets, they would feel like the companies are only talking to them for their personal gain without reciprocation.
Telling reporters what to write
Some companies do not realize that when media outlets decided to post something about them, it is almost a favor. This means that if they were to decide to write an article about the business, it is because they chose to do it, not forced to. This technically means that they control the content they are putting out, not the company. When companies assume that they control the content, it means that they think their brand is more important than the reporter writing about it, which is not the case.
Delivering promotional content
The primary role of media outlets and reporters is to create newsworthy stories and share insightful and valuable information with their audiences. It is not to sell a company’s story ideas, products, or services. So, rather than sending over promotional content to make reporters salespeople, marketers, or even influencers, companies need to provide information with value so that media outlets can create great content.
Not taking no for an answer
If media outlets are not interested in a pitch, they will say it and mean it. Sending cold emails is a way to get them interested, but if they do not respond to the first email or the follow-up email, they are trying to let companies know that their ideas don’t work for them or related to what they usually talk about. Companies also need to understand that if they continue pushing their pitches on the same media outlet, it could impact their reputation in the media community.
How to reach reporters the right way
We have looked at how not to pitch to media outlets, but there are effective strategies and approaches to working and talking to reporters.
Get to know whom you are working with
Before companies even consider sending out their pitch, they need to learn about the media contact. You can either Google them or look through databases, like Pressfarm, that have all sorts of reporter information where marketing teams can search for media outlets by name and read about their contact preferences for pitches.
The media outlets might also have a website or list the topics they tend to write about on their social media profiles. By visiting their publication and reading the content they have already published in the past, companies can then start writing their email pitch that aligns with their previous work preferences. When visiting reporters’ profiles, companies can also see whether the media outlet’s publication is interested in publishing guest articles, breaking news, sector or trend overviews, or product reviews.
Social media channels are another way to learn about media contacts because their feed, visuals, and interactions with people will give companies a better understanding. When using all the information learned about the media contacts to create a pitch, reporters will see that companies did their research and appreciate the effort they went through to address their subject matter interests or preferences.
As mentioned before, it is essential to start building a relationship with media outlets without asking them to do anything. Companies need to understand that they should not expect anything in return because it is entirely up to the media outlets whether they want to take on the story.
To develop a relationship, they should consider retweeting and sharing their articles or those of their publication. They can comment positively on their account and develop the relationship from there.
Focus on helping
When it comes time to send the pitch, companies should begin by introducing and sharing information that can help the reporter they choose and their audience. All journalists want to create stories that set them apart from other reporters in their niche to gain more followers and respect of the industry. When companies deliver new insights, data, and perspectives on trending topics, reporters will definitely consider it.
Another approach could be to offer alternative viewpoints around a trending story or topic. This also helps because reporters might be looking for a counter-argument to create different content instead of repeating what everyone has already shared.
It is essential to understand that journalists are humans, too, so companies should always be respectful of their time and privacy. They should plan their pitch distribution to reporters during regular working hours and avoid sending out things after work or on weekends because they want their own space and don’t want to be continuously bombarded by pitches.
Whether it is the first time pitching to reporters or just a follow-up, it is imperative to develop a strong sense of patience. There is no immediate action, whether it is waiting for a reply by media outlets or waiting for results. It takes a lot of thoughtful planning and tactics that are focused on the reporter’s needs or the publication.
Pitching to media outlets is an essential part of an effective public relations strategy. It is all about getting the word of business out there, and with the help of professional PR agencies, like Pressfarm, companies can start developing relationships with media outlets in the right and efficient way. Remember that it is all about understanding their needs and handing the information over to them to create content that will help the business.